Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day to increase awareness worldwide about suicide and prevention. Did you know:
– Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a “global” mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
– In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.
– Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.
– Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
– Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role. Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.
As you probably know, we believe Austin was suicidal and that we’ve focused search efforts on a search for remains. If you’ve read any of my posts, you probably also know I have some guilt over that, because the issues were clear but no one realized how real. So I don’t like reading about prevention a lot, I don’t like the what ifs. What I could have or should have done.
But it’s there, the need to educate all over the world, and to make changes that can help. Suicide costs us all- those left behind, our society…. the true cost is too high to know, too tough to measure.
|Austin helping me at a fundraising event for ACS|
In Austin’s case, he worked at keeping us from knowing, and he succeeded. But there is still one person that I think could have been educated more, could have been more aware, could have had policies to prevent those last steps. Austin arrived at a pawn shop by taxi, and attempted to buy a pistol. He obviously knew nothing about guns, nor about buying one. He didn’t know that he’d have to wait three days to buy a pistol. He didn’t know he wouldn’t be able to get ammo there. So, he bought a shotgun instead. He left it there while he went down the road to buy ammo, and came back to finish the purchase. Him buying it was perfectly legal. But I don’t understand why there weren’t warning flags seen, that he was intending to hurt someone. He couldn’t wait three days? He needed ammo before he walked out with the gun? He preferred a pistol, but a shotgun would do as long as he could get it today?
Depression is what caused Austin to do what he did. But why it was so easy…. And what can we do to put barriers up when there are warning flags? The cost is too high to not be having this conversation on a global scale. The World Health Organization hopes to bring awareness and believes that governments need to develop policy frameworks for national suicide prevention strategies. At the local level, policy statements and research outcomes need to be translated into prevention programs and activities in communities.
Take a moment today and visit the American Association of Suicidology and see what you can do to help.
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